This cranberry relish recipe is sugar-free and infused with other traditional winter season flavors: cinnamon and orange. The classic sauce is made even more enjoyable with the added crunch of walnuts, making for a relish with more depth and distinction.
Cranberries are the telltale sign that the holiday season is in full swing. Without the tart fruit, the Thanksgiving dinner table just wouldn’t be complete. Cranberry relish is the perfect complement to sliced turkey, balancing the roasted, earthy, and savory flavors of the meat with a taste bud-tickling sauce.
But it’s not just a delicious addition to your holiday table–it’s a healthy one, too. There are many health benefits to be gained from cranberries. One cup of the fruit contains 46 calories, virtually no fat, 85 milligrams of potassium, 4.6 grams of dietary fiber and 22 percent of the RDA of vitamin C. On account of cranberries’ high content of antioxidants, studies have explored and verified the fruit’s role in preventing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Usually when you see cranberry relish at the Thanksgiving table, you can count on it being packed with sugar. For a condiment that should be light and carefree, cranberry relish usually packs in too many empty calories and messes with your blood sugar levels. The sugar component also completely defies the nature of a fruit-based side dish – it should be healthy, not figure-unfriendly! This recipe takes out the white sugar and instead relies on the natural sweetness offered by cranberries, orange, and maple syrup. That way, you can drown sliced turkey in as much vibrant red relish as you desire without busting your gut.
Despite there being no sugar in this recipe, it can still venture into naughty territory, only in a different way. The optional addition of Grand Marnier adds a boozy orange aftertaste to the relish. Grand Marnier is added to the mix after cooking, so the alcohol is not cooked off enough to be kid-friendly. You could always make this recipe twice, one with and one without the cognac so that everyone is satisfied. Enjoy!
Sugar-Free Cranberry Relish
Makes about 1.5 cups
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 large orange
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Rinse the cranberries and orange. Scrub the orange peel well, since we will use the skin in the recipe.
Chop the orange and toss it into a food processor with the peel. Blend until mushy. Make sure there are no large chunks of the orange peel hanging around in the pulp. In a pan over low heat, add the cranberries, orange pulp, coriander, and cinnamon. When the mixture gets hot and the juices begin to release from the cranberries and orange pulp, raise the heat to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes. The cranberries will pop as they burst and cook down in the heat.
Once cooked through, let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl. Add in the maple syrup, orange liqueur, and walnuts. Stir.
Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours (or up to 4 days) prior to serving.
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